By Erich Wagner (File photo)
The approach of the winter holidays means many residents will, once again, remember the shock and pain caused by the death of Nancy Dunning, who was murdered 10 years ago today.
The Alexandria Police Department held a press conference Wednesday to reaffirm its commitment to finding the perpetrator.
“We promised the Dunning family that we would never put this case on the shelf, that it would never be a cold case,” said Police Chief Earl Cook. “We continue to try to resolve this and get an arrest.”
Cook said the department still has a detective committed primarily to the case, who pores over files, interviews and re-interviews potential witnesses, and searches for any advances in forensic science that might provide a new clue.
“We’re constantly looking and checking for a piece of information that we might have overlooked to get a new perspective,” he said. “We continue to re-interview people and try to jog their memories.”
The memory of the Dunning killing is especially poignant this year in light of the recent shooting death of transportation planner Ronald Kirby. Many residents have described the two incidents as eerily similar.
But Cook said investigators already compared the cases and found no link between the crimes.
“Although some similarities do exist, we have determined that there is no reason to think that those two [homicides] are connected,” he said.
Cook said it can be difficult to juggle the Dunning case with more recent unsolved homicides, but the department has done it.
“It’s a real challenge, especially with reduced budgets and staffing,” he said. “But we’re working continuously. I don’t think our detectives have had a 40-hour work week in the last five to six years.”
As important as keeping resources devoted to the case is maintaining a positive mindset toward the investigation, he said.
“We’ll get there,” Cook said. “The moment that we believe we won’t resolve the case is the moment that we lose.